How to Address Your In-Laws in Spanish

Video how do you say son in law in spanish

A few years back, I traveled to Canada to visit and meet my partner’s family. They were incredibly kind and made me feel at home, but there was a cultural barrier that I didn’t know how to navigate.

In English, we don’t have the same terms for our family in-laws as in Spanish. My mother-in-law preferred that I call her by her name instead of “Mrs.” (which was clearly a test on her part). However, coming from Latin America, this felt disrespectful to me.

I could see my parents’ astonishment as I addressed my common-law partner’s mother by her first name. In Latin America, we have specific words to address our in-laws in a polite manner.

So, if you’re dating or in a committed relationship with a Spanish speaker, trust me, you need this information. Let me list nine popular words in Spanish that we use to refer to and call our relatives-in-law.

9 Words to Call Your Family-In-Laws in Spanish

  1. Suegra: mother-in-law.
  2. Suegro: father-in-law.
  3. Cuñada: sister-in-law.
  4. Cuñado: brother-in-law.
  5. Suegros: parents-in-law.
  6. Nuera: daughter-in-law.
  7. Yerno: son-in-law.
  8. Familia política: family-in-law.
  9. Consuegros: parents-in-law of your child.

You’ll also find examples of how to use these words in conversations. By the end of this article, you’ll feel confident addressing your in-laws in Spanish like a native speaker.

Suegra: Mother-in-law

In Spanish, “mother-in-law” is called “suegra.” While in English we don’t directly address or call our husband’s or boyfriend’s mom “mother-in-law,” in Spanish, we commonly use “suegra” in this way. Using “mamá” to address your mother, in Spanish we use “suegra” to call our mother-in-laws.

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To simplify, “suegra” is the term I used to refer to my mother-in-law instead of calling her by her name. Here are some examples to illustrate its usage. Remember, you can use this word to both refer to and call your mother-in-law.

  • Suegra, ¿dónde pongo estas bolsas? (Mother-in-law, where do I put these bags?)
  • A mi suegra le gusta mucho cocinar. (My mother-in-law likes to cook a lot.)
  • ¿Cómo dijiste que se llama tu suegra? (What did you say your mother-in-law’s name is?)

Note that when referring to or talking about your mother-in-law, you’ll need to use possessive adjectives.

Suegro: Father-in-law

As you can guess, “suegro” is the male counterpart of “suegra.” It means “father-in-law” in Spanish. This vocabulary not only applies to in-laws but also serves as a respectful way to refer to or call them.

Let’s see how we can use this word in practice. Depending on whether you’re referring to or directly addressing your father-in-law, the sentence structure will differ.

  • (Possessive adjective) + suegro + [complement]
  • María, ¿cómo ha estado tu suegro? (Maria, how has your father-in-law been?)
  • Tu suegro me ayudó a arreglar la puerta. (Your father-in-law helped me fix the door.)
  • Suegro, dice mi suegra que se venga a comer. (Father-in-law, my mother-in-law says you should come for dinner.)

Cuñada: Sister-in-law

In Spanish, we use “cuñada” to refer to or call our sister-in-law. Since most sisters-in-law are close in age, you can either use “cuñada” or simply address her by name.

In some cases, people use “cuñada” as a playful term for their crush’s sister. Additionally, in Mexico, young women often use the affectionate variation “cuñis” as a more informal term for “cuñada.”

  • (Possessive adjective) + cuñada + [complement]
  • Mi cuñada es doctora. (My sister-in-law is a doctor.)
  • Cuñada, ¿te sirvo más vino o agua? (Sister-in-law, should I pour you more wine or water?)
  • Cuñis, vamos al cine, ¿no quieres venir? (Sister-in-law, we’re going to the movies. Do you want to come?)
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Cuñado: Brother-in-law

In Spanish, “brother-in-law” translates to “cuñado.” We use this term to refer to our significant other’s brother. In Mexico, young women might use the variation “cuñis” to call their brother-in-laws in a more playful manner.

While “cuñis” is a cute and cheesy term, it’s not used among men. In other words, my brother or my boyfriend wouldn’t call each other “cuñis.” However, I can freely use it with my brothers-in-law.

Here are some examples of how to use “cuñado” in Spanish. Note that we can use the plural form “cuñados” to refer to a mixed group of brothers- and sisters-in-law, meaning siblings-in-law.

  • (Possessive adjective) + cuñado + [complement]
  • Nuestro cuñado habla francés. (Our brother-in-law speaks French.)
  • Cuñado, ¿qué vas a hacer para tu cumpleaños? (Brother-in-law, what are you doing for your birthday?)
  • Mis cuñados no viven aquí. Paty vive en España y Mark en Canadá. (My siblings-in-law don’t live here. Paty lives in Spain, and Mark lives in Canada.)

Suegros: Parents-in-law

“Suegros” is the Spanish word for “parents-in-law.” It refers to both your partner’s parents (suegro and suegra). This term is commonly used to talk about or refer to your parents-in-law.

  • (Possessive adjective) + suegros + [complement]
  • Ian, ¿a qué hora llegan tus suegros? (Ian, what time do your parents-in-law arrive?)
  • Mis suegros van a venir a cenar hoy. (My parents-in-law are coming for dinner tonight.)
  • Esa es mi hermana y esos señores son sus suegros. (That’s my sister, and those gentlemen are her parents-in-law.)

Nuera: Daughter-in-law

In Spanish, the mother-in-law or father-in-law uses “nuera” to refer to their child’s significant other’s wife. In other words, “nuera” means “daughter-in-law” in Spanish. Unlike the other terms on this list, we primarily use “nuera” when referring to a child’s wife.

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On the other hand, your parents-in-law can call you by your name without it being considered rude or disrespectful. It was perfectly fine for my parents-in-law to call me Daniela, but it would have been rude for me to do the same.

Here are some examples to illustrate the usage of “nuera”:

  • (Possessive adjective) + nuera + [complement]
  • Mi nuera es alérgica al cacahuate. (My daughter-in-law is allergic to peanuts.)
  • Caroline es la nuera de la señora Johnson. (Caroline is Mrs. Johnson’s daughter-in-law.)
  • Doña Alicia, su nuera me pidió que le trajera esto. (Mrs. Alicia, your daughter-in-law asked me to bring this to you.)

Yerno: Son-in-law

“Yerno” is the word we use in Spanish to refer to a person’s child’s husband. In other words, “son-in-law” translates to “yerno.” Parents-in-law don’t use “yerno” to directly address their son-in-laws, but they use this word to refer to or talk about them.

  • (Possessive adjective) + yerno + [complement]
  • Ayer vi a tu yerno con los niños. (Yesterday I saw your son-in-law with the kids.)
  • Mi yerno nos ayudó a arreglar el coche. (My son-in-law helped us fix the car.)
  • Doña Alicia me dijo que su yerno ha estado un poco enfermo. (Mrs. Alicia told me that her son-in-law has been a little bit sick.)

Note: In Mexico and Latin America, we’re taught to show respect when addressing adults. Therefore, we use these terms for our relatives-in-law. However, since our parents-in-law are older than us, they can call us by our names when addressing or referring to us.

Familia política: In-laws

“Familia política” is the Spanish term we use to refer to all our relatives-in-law, including “suegro,” “suegra,” “yerno,” “cuñada,” and others. Similar to using “familia” to describe your entire family, “familia política” encompasses the concept of in-laws. You can apply this term similarly to how you would use “familia.”

  • (Possessive adjective) + familia política + [complement]
  • Mi familia política no habla español. (My in-laws don’t speak Spanish.)
  • Toda mi familia política son doctores. (All my in-laws are doctors.)
  • La familia política de Mayra vive aquí. (Mayra’s in-laws live here.)
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Take note that Spanish possessive adjectives allow for shorter sentences. However, if you need to mention the specific person you’re referring to, you can use the following structure:

  • La + familia política + de + [noun] + [complement]
  • La familia política de Mayra vive aquí. (Mayra’s in-laws live here.)

Consuegros: Parents-in-law of Your Child

“Consuegros” is the word Spanish-speaking couples use to refer to each other’s parents-in-law. This term indicates that your parents will refer to your partner’s parents as “consuegros,” and vice versa. Like other terms in this list, “consuegros” is primarily used to talk about these individuals rather than directly calling them.

  • (Possessive adjective) + consuegros + [complement]
  • Mis consuegros van a venir en Navidad. (The parents-in-law of my son are coming for Christmas.)
  • Esta botella de vino nos la regalaron nuestros consuegros. (Our daughter’s parents-in-law gave us this bottle of wine.)

Note that “consuegros” is plural and includes both the mother- and father-in-law of your child. If you want to refer to only one of them, you can use the following words:

  • Consuegra: mother-in-law of your child

  • Consuegro: father-in-law of your child

  • Tatiana, tu consuegra te trajo estas galletas. (Tatiana, the mother-in-law of your daughter brought you these cookies.)

Take note that, unlike in English, you don’t need to specify whether you’re talking about your son or daughter’s parents-in-law.

What about the Rest of Your In-Laws?

While we’ve covered the most common terms for family-in-law in Spanish, families can be large, especially in Latin America. But worry not! For other in-law family members such as aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and grandparents, we use the term “político.” This term comes from the general term “familia política,” meaning “family-in-law” in Spanish.

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Think of it this way: “político” (or “política” for female members) allows us to express that a certain member is an in-law. To specify the family member, we use family vocabulary.

Usually, we use “político” and “política” with the following family members:

  • Tía: aunt
  • Tío: uncle
  • Prima/Primo: cousin
  • Sobrina: niece
  • Sobrino: nephew

To make this clearer, here are some examples:

  • (Possessive adjective) + [family member’s descriptor] + político(s)
  • Andrea y yo somos primas políticas. (Andrea and I are cousins-in-law.)
  • Mi tía política vive en Costa Rica. (My aunt-in-law lives in Costa Rica.)
  • Este coche es de mi hermana, se lo regalaron sus tíos políticos. (This car belongs to my sister; it was a gift from her uncles-in-law.)

Grandparents-in-Law

You can simply use “señor” or “señora” to refer to your grandparents-in-law in Spanish. However, if you’re close to them, you might be able to call them “mamá,” “papá,” “abuelito,” or “abuelita.” This decision depends on your family dynamics rather than language conventions.

In conclusion, unlike English, in Spanish, it’s extremely common to use family-in-law vocabulary when referring to or calling our relatives-in-law. In this list, I’ve included the nine most popular terms you need to know to address your “familia política.” Using these terms is a sign of politeness and respect for this part of your family, so if you’re dating a Spanish speaker, don’t hesitate to start using them. Your in-laws will appreciate it!

Now you have a better understanding of which terms to use with your family-in-law in Spanish. ¡Buena suerte!

Image Sources:

  • Suegra
  • Suegro
  • Cuñada
  • Cuñado
  • Suegros
  • Nuera
  • Yerno
  • Familia Política
  • Consuegros
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